Saying goodbye to your favorite NBA player is like parting ways with your hero forever

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo from | Art by Marian Hukom

I’ve been a huge fan of Kobe Bryant  since 2006. I still remember the days when I would wake up extra early or even up stay up the whole night (depending on the game schedule then) just to watch the Los Angeles Lakers and my idol. Because of Kobe, I developed a deeper love for basketball and found myself religiously watching the purple and gold.

I watched Kobe become—in my own humble opinion—the greatest basketball player of my generation. I witnessed him nab two of his last championships and all his other basketball milestones. There was no better feeling. It seemed like I was the one achieving all those things,  because of how much my favorite basketball player meant to me. I saw him succeed, struggle in times of injuries, and bring his A game every single time. It felt like I grew up with him.

Fast forward to his last NBA game: The time he decided to put an end to his 20-year basketball career. I remember the day it happened. It was a Thursday morning and I was crying my heart out knowing it was the last time I was going to see my idol wear an NBA jersey. As Bryant said goodbye to the game one final time, a part of me also felt that it was leaving the game for good.

That’s what it feels to like to see your favorite basketball player play his last game.

And so I know what it felt like for the millions of basketball fans hearing about the retirement of Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki. Rooting for your team will no longer be the same especially knowing that the superstar you cheered for all your life is no longer there. While they say that the best solution to this is to find another superstar to root for, for me, the satisfaction of seeing Kobe nail a foul-and one jump shot and his classic signature moves will remain unmatched.

For the Wade and Nowitzki fans, the next few years will not be easy. You’re going to have moments where you’ll catch yourself excited for a game but then have that oh-but he’s-not-playing- anymore moment. You’ll watch your team in the process of recovering from the departure of both the superstars. It’ll be nostalgic but I guess that’s why they say all good things must come to an end.

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The end. #L3GACY

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Let’s just let this sink in: We will no longer get to see Dwyane Wade drive in the hoop with ease to get that bucket in. We won’t ever get to watch Dirk Nowitzki hit that signature fadeaway jumper he’s mastered throughout his career. No more all star game appearances from two of the best players to ever wear an NBA jersey. Letting go of these two feels like you’re closing a very important chapter of the NBA.

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We’re not crying…you are. 😭

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But we’ll always have good memories of our favorite basketball players. The memories that brought nothing but pure passion and joy to our lives. They’re what make idolizing an athlete so beautiful—we witnessed them change and uplift the game of basketball for good.

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